Healthy Eating 101: Healthy Breakfast Upgrades

Upgrade your breakfasts to be flavorful and nutrient dense, no matter where you are.


By Aimée Suen, NTP


Eating and cooking healthy breakfasts can be simple, give you the energy you need, and most importantly, taste great. After hours of sleeping, your body needs some fuel to get it up and running. What you eat for breakfast can help you start off your day and give you a boost of energy or make you want to fall back asleep.

Breakfast can be so much more than just a bowl of cereal or a shake. You can easily make a nourishing breakfast to enjoy at home, on the go, at school or at the office. Here are some ideas to try to get more healthful breakfasts in your rotation or break out of a breakfast rut.

Breakfast at Home

If you eat your breakfast at home, there are some recipe ideas you can prepare in the morning. Some will require more time than others. If time is a factor, try making a recipe you're interested on the weekend to see how long it takes.

Omelette: An omelette is a great way to start the day. Not only do you get protein and healthy fats from the eggs, but omelettes are also extremely versatile. You can add an infinite combination of vegetables into your omelette that can make the most of what you have in your kitchen.

Have a little bit of spinach or one small bell pepper? Chop them up and toss them in. Depending on what you have in your kitchen each day, you could have a different omelette every day. Nutritionally, go with an omelette that uses the whole egg, rather than just the egg white. Most of the vitamins, minerals, and protein, and healthy fats come from the egg yolk.

Scrambled eggs: If you want an egg dish with a little less technique involved, try scrambled eggs instead. Just like the omelette, there are infinite vegetable and flavor combinations to try. Again, nutritionwise it’s best to use the entire egg rather than just one part of it.

Avocado toast: The healthy fats and protein of the avocado will keep you full for the morning. A hearty, whole grain bread and the avocado will provide a good amount of fiber, keeping you full. Avocado toast is also open to customization. You can add a touch of salt, paprika, chili flakes, or garlic powder to give the toast a little something extra. You can also add toppings like tomatoes, cucumbers, or sprouts to add more flavor and nutrients. Start with half an avocado on one piece of toast. Depending on the size of the avocado and the bread, one piece of avocado toast could be plenty to start your day.

Oatmeal with Toppings: Homemade oatmeal with fresh fruit, nuts, a dollop of yogurt, or nut butter mixed in can be a fiber-packed way to start your morning. You can even add seeds like chia or hemp seeds to get more protein and healthy fats. Spices can also make oatmeal shine.

A quick dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger can add more flavor and a touch of sweetness without adding any additional sugar. To add creaminess to your oatmeal, stir in a few dollops of organic yogurt or cook your oatmeal in dairy, or nondairy, milk.

Yogurt with Toppings: For people who prefer a lighter breakfast, yogurt with some add-ins could be the way to go. The add-ins, like most of the other breakfast suggestions, give you more choice and variety. Fresh fruit or nuts are a great addition, as well as a low-sugar or homemade granola or toasted oats. Go with a full fat, organic plain yogurt. Full fat yogurt will be more filling than non or low-fat yogurt. Depending on the variety of yogurt you choose, you can also get a great boost of protein. Regardless of what variety, you’ll be getting a good serving of probiotics that can help with digestion and regulate the good and bad bacteria in your body.

Smoothie: A great way to get in several servings of fruits and vegetables, a smoothie is a great breakfast option to make at home. To get the most out of your smoothie, use a larger amount of vegetables than fruits. Vegetables are naturally lower in sugars than fruits, meaning less blood sugar spikes and energy crashes.

Leafy greens are the most common base for a green smoothie. You can also add in cucumber for added hydration. Mint is a great addition that also adds sweetness with a low amount of sugar. If you prefer a thicker smoothie, add a frozen banana, other frozen fruit, or a handful of ice cubes. For the liquid component of the smoothie, you can add dairy, or nondairy, milk or get some extra potassium and electrolytes from coconut water. For some added protein, throw in some hemp seeds, yogurt, or protein powder.

Make Ahead Breakfasts

Have a busy week ahead or just don’t have a lot of time in the mornings? Consider a breakfast you make the night or a few days before that you can heat up and eat or just enjoy without having to cook or prepare.

Quiche/Frittata: Just like the other egg dishes mentioned, quiche and frittata are versatile dishes. You can easily pack in as many vegetables as you want into them (as well as some meat if you prefer) and they’ll taste wonderful. Depending on the size of the tart or pie pan you use and who else is enjoying it, they could easily be your breakfast for the entire week. If you’re looking for a grain-free option, go with a frittata, which is essentially a crustless quiche. You can also divide the quiche/frittata mixture into muffin cups and have a pre-portioned version that’s great on the go.

Overnight Oatmeal: Overnight oatmeal is made from soaking oats with milk or yogurt to soften the oats. You can also add chia seeds, which gel and expand when soaked. Mashed bananas, nut butters, and cinnamon are also great additions to give the oats great flavor.

Add any fresh fruit, nuts, or other toppings right before serving (if you’re short on time, cut these or have them pre-portioned the night before) and don’t forget to stir before enjoying.

Chia Pudding: Similar to overnight oats, chia pudding is soaked chia seeds in water or a milk overnight. Soaked chia seeds create a perfect pudding texture. Chia is high in fiber and omega-3s, which can help keep you full. You can flavor the chia pudding with cocoa, cinnamon, fruit purees, or a little bit of maple syrup. Like the overnight oats, add any fresh fruit or nuts just before serving.

On The Go or At Work Breakfasts

If you need to take your breakfast with you to eat on the way to or at work, there are several healthy options to choose from. Some of these may require prep the night before or a small amount the morning of.

Hard-boiled Egg: A perfect package of protein and healthy fats to get your morning going. If you need more than the egg, pair it with a piece of fruit. If you’re consistently eating breakfast on the go, hard-boil a large amount of eggs so you can easily grab what you need in the morning.

If you’re eating this at work, consider keeping a small salt and pepper shaker in your desk to add some additional flavor.

Smoothie: Smoothies are perfect for enjoying on the way to work or in the office. Get a trusty, leak proof reuseable cup you can just pour your smoothie into before leaving the house. It’s best to make smoothies the morning of, but you can throw all of your greens, chopped fruit and any other dry add-ins in a container the night before so all you have to do is combine everything and blend when you need it.

Overnight Oats: Put your oats in a reusable container like a mason jar to make it easy to carry. Also prep any add-ins you want the night before (like cut fruit) and put that in a separate container and combine when you’re ready to eat it, whether that’s at work or on the way to work.

Yogurt with Toppings: Perfect for eating at work, bring your toppings in one container and simply mix into your yogurt container. If you’ve got a tub of yogurt at home, portion that into a slightly larger container so your toppings can fit in there as well.

Oatmeal with Toppings: When eating at work, bring a container with your dry ingredients (oats mixed with any spices) and one with your toppings. Once you cook the oats, either in the microwave or with hot water from a coffee maker, stir in the toppings and enjoy.

Once you find something on this list that piques your interest, start looking for some healthful recipes online or in cookbooks that you want to try making. To keep things simple, try adding one new breakfast idea in a week and see what you like the best. Once you get the hang of foods you like for breakfast, try mixing it up during the week to get some variety.

Healthy Eating 101 returns with how to eat healthy while traveling.

Aimée Suen is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner who shares nourishing, gluten-free recipes and nutrition wisdom at Small Eats. She is driven to help others enjoy whole foods and empower them to find their own healthy in all aspects of life, one small step at a time. When she’s not in the kitchen, she’s practicing yoga, in the gym, or learning something new. You can find Aimée on InstagramTwitter and Pinterest.

Second Photo Credit: Stepanek Photography/; Third Photo Credit: AS Food studio/; Fourth Photo Credit & Fifth Photo Credit: JeniFoto/; Sixth Photo Credit: Brent Hofacker/; Seventh Photo Credit: ptnphoto/

Dec 17, 2015